Salina-native commands Marine Corps’ Silent Drill Platoon

3 Aug 2012 | Sgt. Austin Hazard

A native of Salina, Kan., served as the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon commander during a special Friday Evening Parade at Marine Barracks Washington Aug. 3.

Staff Sgt. Scott Wilkie led the precision drill team in front of thousands of spectators, including the sergeant major of the Marine Corps and more than 100 other Marine sergeants major. Every Friday from late April to late August, Marine Barracks Washington conducts its prestigious Evening Parades for thousands, including such notables as President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Maj. Gen. Buster Howes, the British Royal Marine commandant, and other top leaders from all branches of military service, both foreign and domestic.

This parade featured staff noncommissioned officers in positions traditionally held by officers.

“It was an honor,” said the 2000 graduate of Salina High School South. “I was proud to stand out in front of the Marines and represent the platoon.”

In his regular duties, Wilkie is the unit’s platoon sergeant and is responsible for approximately 35 Marines’ professional development and wellbeing, as well as the operational success of the platoon. Since February, the Silent Drill Platoon has performed in approximately 90 ceremonies around the country, including two ceremonies in Belleau Wood and Paris, France.

“It was my time to shine, so I went out there and did my best,” said Wilkie, who has spent 12 years in the Marine Corps and plans to serve for at least eight more.

During his youth, the platoon sergeant of the Corps’ most renowned unit delivered newspapers for “The Salina Journal” for seven years and eventually used the savings to buy his first car.

Wilkie, who has been with the platoon and at the Barracks since August 2011, has deployed four times in his career. He deployed to Europe with a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team, to Africa with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and to Iraq and Afghanistan with 1st Battalion, 8th Marines.

Wilkie’s awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.